Talking tech since 2003

Attention AT&T, Verizon, and other wireless carriers: you’re doing it so wrong.  You shouldn’t be increasing the time customers need to wait to be eligible for a subsidized smartphone, you should be decreasing it!  If you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, following Verizon’s lead, AT&T just announced on the company blog that they will be increasing the time you have to wait to be eligible for a subsidized device upgrade from 20 months to 24 months — the full two-year contract period.

Ridiculous.

The change which was announced today, applies to all new customers and existing customers whose contracts end in March 2014 or later.  AT&T said the policy change is intended to align its device upgrade eligibility with its standard two-year wireless contract.  Oh, but don’t worry, after you complete six months of your contract, you will be eligible for a partial discount off a device’s retail price if you agree to a new two-year contract.  And of course, devices can also be purchased at full retail price without a two-year agreement.  Whoop-de-freakin’-doo.

Carriers need to stop worrying about locking us in to contracts and worry about building stable, reliable, and fast wireless networks.  If the carriers could deliver on those things and have some semblance of good customer service, they wouldn’t have to worry about losing customers.  This is a pure money grab and customers should be angry.

We are so close to the golden age of mobile computing and the only thing holding us back is these wireless carriers.  Despite T-Mobile’s new Un-carrier sex appeal, it’s really not that much better than the others (AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint).  Carriers are limiting our data usage, throttling our bandwidth, and suffocating us with two-year contracts that make it much more difficult to upgrade to the latest technology.

The carriers couldn’t possibly think we like their limitations, which negatively affect how we use our devices, could they?  2GB of data transfer for an iPad over a 30 day period?  What am I supposed to do with that?  Browse Facebook, tweet, and check my email?  I can’t stream music, watch Netflix/YouTube, download [more than a handful] of apps, video chat, or any number of things without easily exceeding my measly 2GB within the first week (if even a week).

We deserve better.  More data and less suffocating contracts — at least one’s where we can upgrade our devices whenever we want.


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